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Hand-me-downs offensive – to the kid who’s handing them down

Submitted by on Thursday, 30 April 2009 No Comment

more_hand_me_downsThe problem is bellies.

Boots’ is – how shall I put this tactfully? – a bit prominent. Big Guy could slide under a door unimpeded.

All of which is creating an uproar as we go through the semi-annual clothing migration.

The usual pattern is Big Guy’s drawer to the garage, with the hand-me-downs re-emerging a year later to land in Boots’ dresser. It’s long enough to lessen the pain of Big Guy’s loss, but soon enough that Boots knows he’s getting something he once looked at with envy.

This year, though, the narrowing girth gap has meant many shirts – particularly the smaller ones I bought early last spring – have moved directly from Big Guy’s world to Boots’.

And in a neat reversal of tradition, which holds that the one receiving the hand-me-downs is supposed to be downcast, Big Guy doesn’t like it one bit.

Oh no! You’re giving him my tiger shark shirt? That’s my favorite,” Big Guy moaned. Yes, and that’s why it took me a month last year to convince you to wear it, I thought.

“Not my airplane shirt! I love that one,” he complained a day later. I should have stretched the transition a little more because I’ll concede that he does love the airplane shirt.

“He’s wearing my monkey shirt? Oh, I’m so happy he gets to have it. That was sarcasm,” he quickly added in case I’d been inclined to believe him.

To make it worse, Boots takes great delight in the new old clothes. Except for his Thomas t-shirt collection, anything Big Guy once wore quickly becomes a favorite.

It’s a point of pride with him, getting to wear something Big Guy once wore. He even looks forward to the day, anticipating it as I pack Big Guy’s cast offs away each season. He’s even more thrilled now that he’s getting to the cast offs so quickly.

It’s all part of that ancient sibling dance. The younger brother looks up with admiration, trying in every way to emulate the older one. The older brother, meanwhile, bristles at any attempt at imitation.

Boots trying desperately to catch Big Guy as they race up the sidewalk. Big Guy talking trash when his brother falls short again.

At last, though, Boots won a round by literally winning the shirts off his brother’s back.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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